Otto Kahn-Freund, Autobiographical Memories of the Weimar Republic: A Conversation with Wolfgang Luthardt (February 1978)

16 Pages Posted: 24 May 2016 Last revised: 28 Aug 2016

Ewan McGaughey

School of Law, King's College, London; Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Date Written: May 23, 2016

Abstract

“We were all blind. All the conditions for national socialism were laid out...”

A year before he passed away, the great labour lawyer, Otto Kahn-Freund, was interviewed by constitutional scholar Wolfgang Luthardt. His life as a young man came at one of the most extraordinary, and terrifying periods of German and world history. This interview was published in German in 1981, but until this translation it has been unfamiliar to English audiences. Kahn-Freund had instrumental influence in the architecture of German, British, and European labour law. As a Berlin Labour Court judge, Kahn-Freund represented the courage of millions of Germans like him who resisted Nazi usurpation of the state. Even after Hitler, backed by a cartel of bankers and industrialists, seized the Chancellorship, Kahn-Freund’s last major case awarded maximum damages to radio employees who were dismissed on trumped-up accusations of being communist saboteurs. As European law continues to take shape, and questions press on how to fashion justice in a globalising world, the personal history of a man who cared so deeply about human freedom enlightens us today.

Keywords: Labour law, socialism, democracy, Marxism, freedom, fascism, Sinzheimer, Fraenkel

JEL Classification: K31, J50, J51, J60, P61

Suggested Citation

McGaughey, Ewan, Otto Kahn-Freund, Autobiographical Memories of the Weimar Republic: A Conversation with Wolfgang Luthardt (February 1978) (May 23, 2016). King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2016-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2783260 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2783260

Ewan McGaughey (Contact Author)

School of Law, King's College, London; Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/ewan.mcgaughey.html

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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